Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Saturday that the country will continue with its strict lockdown measures until at least April 25.
“Flattening the curve was our first objective. We’re getting close. But I ask everyone for sacrifice and resistance... The next objective is to reduce infections even more until the number of new contagions is lower than the number of people recovering each day,” said Sanchez in a televised address on Saturday.
Spain has the second most COVID-19 deaths and cases in the world. On Saturday, Spanish government data showed that 11,744 people have died from the disease, while 57,612 have been hospitalized, and more than 124,700 cases have been confirmed.
The original practice of quarantine began during the 14th century when ships arriving in Venice from ports suffering from the plague would have to wait for 40 days at dock.
Spain’s quarantine, which began on March 14, will now last at least 45 days.
Spain has one of the strictest quarantines in the world. Since the beginning, no one has been allowed to leave their homes for anything non-essential.
Unlike many countries, outdoor exercise is not permitted.
“I understand how difficult it will be to stay home in isolation for two more weeks,” said Sanchez.
The government, which can only call a state of emergency for 15 days at a time, previously extended the lockdown until April 12.
Sanchez also announced that a technical committee is devising a plan for what will happen when the most acute part of the crisis comes to an end.
“Once the curve is clearly descending, we will open a second phase -- a progressive return to new social normality and the reconstruction of our economy,” said Sanchez.
With the combination of the long, strict lockdown and the service sector making up the lion’s share of the country’s GDP, Spain’s economic future looks increasingly grim. In March alone, the country saw the same amount of job loss as it did in the worst 100 days of the financial crisis.
After first appearing in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, the virus has spread to at least 181 countries and regions.
The global death toll from the virus has surpassed 60,800, with more than 1.1 million confirmed cases, and over 233,800 recoveries, according to the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.